It is all change again for the congregation at a Stevenston church as the minister for the parish has announced Boxing Day will be his last sermon.

Rev Dave Sutherland, minister of Stevenston Ardeer Parish Church linked with Stevenston Livingstone Parish Church, joined in 2017 as their first full-time minister in over six years.

He will leave the community this week to take up his new role at Hillington Park, near Glasgow.

He said: “I have served the parish for four-and-a -half years and it has been a fruitful time.

"I have enjoyed developing different ways of worship, looking at what discipleship means today and engaging with staff and pupils at Ardeer and Glencairn Primary Schools.

“I am indebted to elders and members of the congregation who have walked with me as we have explored what God has been saying to us and what we need to do about it.

“Whilst challenging at times, I have enjoyed living and working in the community and exploring a part of the country that I was previously largely unfamiliar with.

“I have met a great many warm and welcoming people in difficult circumstances, such as funerals and through the pandemic.

“The radical reforms that the Church of Scotland has been developing over the last two to three years brings a focus to the future and I have accepted an exciting call from the congregation of Hillington Park Church in Glasgow to be their new minister.”

The future of Ardeer Parish Church as a congregation remains uncertain following a turbulent year.

The church building was closed and its membership merged with another congregation in the town at the beginning of 2021 - with some members feeling as if they have been kept in the dark about its future and its finances.

One concerned member, who did not want to be named, said: “When will the Congregation of Ardeer be told anything about the future of the church, where are the collections and donations for Ardeer going to?

"How do we know that the building is safe and secure and when is it going up for sale?

"And why do we need to ask the Herald to find out what is going on?”

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “The Church is currently undergoing bold reforms to ensure it operates more efficiently and is fit for purpose in the 21st century.

“Presbyteries across the country are currently drafting Presbytery Mission Plans to ensure well equipped spaces are in the right places and the Good News of Jesus Christ is shared in varied and exciting ways.

“Stevenston Ardeer and Stevenston Livingstone churches is a functioning linked charge and members of both congregations are currently enjoying shared worship in the Livingstone Parish Church building.

“No decision has yet been taken about the future of the Ardeer church building which is owned by the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland.”